The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 5
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The Texan of i86o
Antonio and Mexican Gulf; the Southern Pacific; and the New
Orleans and Texas had a total of 2721/2 miles of track completed,
over 130 miles graded, and 85 or more miles under contract. The
San Antonio and Mexican Gulf had only five miles in operation;
the Houston and Texas Central could take the Texan farthest--
seventy-five miles.12 If he really wanted to traverse his state, he
rode horseback or took the stage. Sawyer and Risher served most
of the stage routes with either four-horse coaches or two-horse
hacks, but there were also individual lines as that of Joseph Baker
at San Augustine or Levi Hontz at LaGrange. Should the Texan
prefer travel by sea, he took the Southern Steamship from Gal-
veston or Indianola for New Orleans. Steamboats ran daily be-
tween Galveston and Houston, "leaving Galveston on the arrival
of the New Orleans steamers, and Houston on the arrival of
trains from the interior."13 Travel by rail or coach was not exactly
luxurious. Mrs. Eliza Ripley, a refugee to Texas after the war
broke out, said that she could not remember the timetable for
the railroad between Houston and Beaumont but recalled:
a dim idea dawns that it was intended to make a round trip
daily, Deo volente, which implied "weather permitting"; but when
rain soaked the wood piled by the road-side so that it would not make
steam, or when sleet made the rails slippery, travel was entirely sus-
pended. As both these contingencies existed the week we were in
Beaumont, of course no travel could be thought of.
When the group finally departed, the woman pictures the trip:
After a long day's snail-like progress, the train stopping every few
miles to take a load of wet and soggy wood, and every few minutes to
get up steam, slipping, sliding, and sometimes refusing point-blank to
budge until all the men got out in the mud and slush to "giv her a
shove," we reached Houston after midnight, tired, cold, hungry, and
cross, to find no conveyance at the muddy, inhospitable shed of a
depot to carry us to a hotel.14
In Houston, Mrs. Ripley might have stayed at the Kelly House,
which carried an advertisement in the Almanac for z86o, as did
12Texas Almanac for z86o (Galveston, 1859), 22o-221.
l3Texas Almanac for i86r, p. 223.
14Eliza McHatton Ripley, From Flag to Flag: A Woman's Adventures and Experi-
ences in the South during the War, in Mexico, and in Cuba (New York, 1896), 70.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/23/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.